Cypress VS Radiata

It is predicted that demand will continue to outstrip supply for cypress pine, further driving prices upwards. Radiata pine is a renewable alternative to cypress pine, and an option to be considered for outdoor building work.

What is cypress pine?

Cypress pine (Callitris Glaucophylla) is a native tree which unlike radiata pine, doesn’t grow straight and tall. They grow in scrub-like conditions in arid inland New South Wales and Queensland. Their heights and widths are inconsistent, so tall (longer than 4.2m lengths) and wide (circumference greater than 120mm) yields are spasmodic and becoming harder to source.

Cypress has historically been considered:

  • Cheap
  • Readily available
  • Hard wearing
  • Naturally pest (termite) repellent
  • Durable – ideal for fencing and landscaping projects

This perception is slowly eroding as overseas markets have gained interest and architects, designers and builders look to cypress for alternate uses, such as feature posts and cladding because of its textured and knotty appearance.

What is currently happening with cypress in the market?

Cypress supply has been heavily impacted of late by natural disasters (fires and flood), restricted forest access and quotas (down 30 per cent), and mill closures/consolidations. More recently overseas markets (in particular China and India) buying up the log at the forest have driven up pricing and reduced supply to local mills.

Despite this, the cypress market is buoyant, due to new housing starts and land developments. It is still cheaper than its alternative, radiata H3 and H4 treated options, however as availability wanes, demand will outstrip supply and drive prices up.

There are bigger shortages in wider spec logs. Anything wider than 125mm is at a premium and 200-300mm logs are becoming almost impossible to source. With cypress, tree dimensions are smaller with longer lengths over 4.2m also heavily restricted.

What are the alternatives to cypress?

Builders with an environmental and sustainable focus will drive the change away from cypress and offer the renewable alternative radiata pine as their first preference. Treated radiata pine is a timber that has been impregnated with a chemical solution containing two major components, fungicide and insecticide, giving it a long-term resistance to decay, insects and other wood destroying organisms.

This effective and long-lasting protection makes it very durable for applications exposed to the elements, such as pergolas and gazebos. Used for general purpose construction largely in outdoor applications, the durability and usability of machine-sized pine makes this a popular building product for many users.

For further information regarding the use of radiata pine in your outdoor building work, contact your Dahlsens Account Manager.

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